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Looking Back

I don't know about you but when I was a kid, I had very few friends.

Being bought up in a children's home at such a young age, my only friends were my older sister and my twin brother. We were as thick as thieves my brother and I, we shared everything and our older sister was always looking out for us. Fiercely protective and brave, our sister was ready to step in if we ever needed.

There were one or two special bonds created over the years but honestly, I've kept my numbers small. The presence of too many 'friends' or group liaisons always makes me feel overwhelmed. Growing up in secondary school the bullying never stopped, I was a target on a daily basis, and not from just one group. At one point I was receiving death threats from a girl in my year, detailing how she was going to carry out my demise, there was always something chilling about it.

It was a relief to leave the horrors of secondary education, the bullying and the ridicule. Our mums illness showed odd behaviour that people just didn't know how to deal with, our faith in Jesus was met with hatred and misunderstanding. I didn't look, speak or act like the normal kids, I was different that's for sure.

In my 20s I was influenced by music and the genre I was into became my identity. Misfits ,broken, abandoned and hurt angry people became my friends. I connected with the unusual which worked for a while. I found phsycobilly, punk, rock, glam rock, anything that the upto date kids weren't listening to, and yet still I was on my own..surrounded by people but completely empty.

As the years went by God gifted me with a son. He is my joy. We have a wonderful friendship which has given me such a loving experience of trust and love. I have a wonderful church family and a loving relationship with my siblings and parents.

I was writing to a dear friend recently about friendship. About the intrinsic need to be loved , for someone to be there, through the highs and lows, the ups and the downs, I concluded that I haven't done half bad really, the people who have been in my life as friends have been there for me, put up with me, supported me, understood me. Now I celebrate my friendship with Jesus. He really is quite something. Always there, day or night, always loving, always understanding, he's patient and kind and is gentle. He's my best friend, even when I didn't really know him all those years ago, I'm pretty sure he was looking out for me then when I didn't know it. I wished I'd invited him in sooner.

Friendship whether many or few is a gift, I'm so grateful for the good people ive met over the years.

Years later I caught up with my bullies from school, we shared our truths and horrors of our youth, I understood more, They didn't have friends either, they were going through their own pain and I was just a target. We parted with more understanding and left the past where it was. I saw them differently and we connected in a way we hadn't before. We all felt out of place, inadequate, insecure, in one way or another, our only differences was how we responded. I'm not sure that anything has changed, society is harsh and so much harder than 40 years ago. I'm grateful for my lot and thank God for his friendship that edifys me daily and thank those special people who colour my life in so many know who you are.

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